Monthly Archives: January 2017

God’s Heart Yearns That We Know Him

God’s Heart Yearns That We Know Him

A few years ago my wife and I were out shopping at a local Wal-Mart. I had to go pick up a few things from another department while she went and looked at clothes. After getting what I needed, I walked into the ladies department and spotted my wife from behind. I walked up beside her, put my arm around her and asked “Are you ready to go?” However, when she turned her head so I could see her face, I realized I had just made a horrible mistake! This was not my wife. I was horrified; and although she never said a word, the expression on her face told me that she was probably much more horrified than I. I immediately turned to see the face of my wife about fifty feet away laughing at me. My wife and I have been married for over twenty five years, and I know her well. Unfortunately, on this day by not seeing her face, I made an absolute fool of myself.

How many times have we looked at the back of an individual and mistakenly thought it was someone else?  Hopefully, not to my extent of foolishness! How many times have we seen the back of a man and thought it was a woman or the back of a woman and thought it was a man? We can only be certain when we see the face of the individual. Only then we can recognize who they are. Unless someone wanted for a crime has distinguishing marks only the persons face is seen on the wanted poster. If you have seen that person, you know his face. The face of an individual is the most distinct and intimate part of a person that distinguishes them from everyone else.

For this reason God tells in many places throughout scripture to seek His face. To seek His face is to know Him. God’s heart is that we know Him and we seek Him.  Hebrews 11:6 says that “He (God) is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” He rewards us with the power of His presence. There are some things about God that we cannot know today because our finite minds cannot comprehend them. God is an all-powerful, all-knowing, ever-present being who is in many ways beyond our comprehension. However, God has not hidden Himself nor made His character a mystery. He has made Himself known. He longs for us to seek Him, for us to find Him, and for us to know Him. Jesus said in John 17:3 as He prayed to the Father, “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”

From the very first man and woman (Adam and Eve) to this present day, God has desired a relationship. God had a close relationship with Adam and Eve while they were in the Garden of Eden. After they had sinned against Him God then set up a sacrificial system in order to continue the relationship. The Old Testament sacrificial system was an imperfect and temporary system that was set up only until the coming of the Messiah, Jesus. Jesus, the Son of God, God in the flesh, came to this world for one purpose. He stated that purpose in Luke 19:10 when He said, “The Son of Man, (Jesus) has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” John 1:29 records John the Baptist saying of Jesus, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of this world.” Jesus came to this world for the purpose of being the Lamb of God who would lay down His life in order that whosoever will call upon the name of the Lord would have a relationship with Him.

As we clearly see, God desires for us to seek Him and to know Him. I also believe that the more we seek God and the more we come to know God, the more we are going to want to know God. To know Him is to love Him. Moses is the greatest example of this. Moses had one of the most intimate relationships with God that any man on this earth has ever had. He first met God in the burning bush; then he spent forty days on two occasions with God on Mt. Sinai. After the construction of the Tabernacle, he then went and met with God every day.

Although Moses was grateful for the relationship he had with God and for all the ways God blessed him, Moses still wanted to know more of God. In Exodus 33:12-23 we find the record of Moses asking God to show His glory. God told Moses that no man could see His face and live. However, God showed Moses a passing glimpse of His glory to the extent that it caused Moses’ face to shine. The glory of God transformed Moses, and for the rest of his days he had to wear a veil over his face to cover his glowing face that continued to shine the glory of God all his days.

Today through Christ we are invited into the very presence of God to bask in His glory. Just as the glory of God transformed Moses life, when we seek and find the glory of God, it will forever transform our lives. But unlike Moses, we do not veil our faces. We allow His glory to shine through us for the world to see. II Corinthians 3:18 says, “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.”

We, through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, have been invited into the very presence of God. We must understand what a high honor that is! When we enter into His presence we enter into His glory. His glory then begins to transform us from who we are into who He is. The more time we spend in the glorious presence of God, the more we become transformed into His likeness. However, if we do not seek Him, we will not find Him. How then do we seek God out? We seek Him through worship, through prayer, through His Word, and through meditation on His Word. Remember, if we seek Him, we will find Him.

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Posted by on January 31, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized


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Saved with a Holy Calling.

Saved with a Holy Calling.

One of the difficulties we often have is understanding how totally depraved we are apart from Christ.  We often think that we are deserving of the gifts and the blessings of God. However, the Word of God says in Isaiah 64:6, “our righteousness is as filthy rags.” Our righteousness is the best we can give, and it alone is not enough. The Bible also says in Ephesians 2:3, “by nature we are children of wrath.” The word of God gives a very bleak picture of the nature of man. Every man, woman, and child that has ever lived upon this earth has made a conscious choice at some point in their lives to rebel and sin against God. Romans 3:23 says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God.”

The Bible also tells us that God requires death as the payment for our sins. (Romans 6:23). Death had to be paid as a penalty of sin, but praise be to God that I Corinthians 15:3 tells us, “Christ died for our sins.” We should have paid the penalty for our sins but Jesus stood in our place. Although we have turned our backs on Him time after time, God loves us enough to send us His son to become sin for us. II Corinthians 5:21 says, “He (God) made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” Due to this great sacrifice, John said in I John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” No one is worthy of this great gift of sacrifice. We deserve death and hell; yet, God gives us grace by giving us His Son.

With this grace in mind, Paul said in Romans 12:1, “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” He is urging us, because of the mercy of God, to give ourselves entirely to Himself as a living and holy sacrifice. God doesn’t want dead sacrifices. He desires living sacrifices that are set apart for His own purposes. If we truly understand the mercies of God and the great grace that God has bestowed upon us, we will have no problem serving Him. The mercies of God have purchased us from sin, death, and hell and have reconciled us into a right relationship with Him. “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved).” (Ephesians 2:4).

As the Apostle Paul began to write his second letter to young Timothy, he knew his life was going to end soon. He was imprisoned and about to be executed because of his faith in Jesus and his faithful service to Jesus. With this in mind, Paul wrote these words to Timothy in II Timothy 1:8, “Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God.” Now, anyone else would have said, “Are you out of your mind? You are about to die and you want me to come join with you in suffering!” What reason would Timothy have in joining with Paul in suffering? Why would he continue to walk down this path of service and loyalty to Jesus when this is the very path that has Paul where he is? Paul answered that question in the very next verse when he said, “Who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity.” I will serve Him for no other reason than that I am saved by His wonderful grace.

What an honor and a privilege to serve God. When God saves us, He calls us; however, we must also understand that when He calls us, He equips us. When we are called by God, we are not our own, we are His! The bible says in Ephesians 2:10, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Through Christ we are called to good works. By the hand of God we are shaped, formed, and fitted to fulfill them. God may not have called you to be a pastor or an evangelist or to go to a foreign mission field, but you are called nonetheless. The calling He has placed upon your life may be done in a manner where no one in the world may ever be aware of it. However, it is still a glorious and honorable calling. If we were to be called upon by a king or dignitary of this world to render service, we would consider it an honor. We, however, have been called by the King of Kings. What a glorious honor; for He has saved us and called us with a holy calling.

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Posted by on January 30, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized


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We Know God Through Jesus

We Know God Through Jesus

The Old and New Testaments alike teach us the truths of the Trinitarian form of God, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Although they are all three God, at the same time God is one. We see them in their separate forms most clearly in Jesus’ Baptism. Jesus is in the river being baptized, the Spirit is descending on Him as a dove, and the Father is speaking the words, “this is My Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:13-17).

The Holy Spirit glorifies Jesus and guides us in all truth, (John 16:12-14). In the same way Jesus has come to reveal and glorify the Father, so when we see Jesus, we have seen the Father. (John 17:25-26). God in His Trinitarian form exists to glorify Himself. When we receive Christ, we receive His Spirit. His Spirit then gives revelation of Jesus, and Jesus gives revelation of the Father so that we may know God in all His fullness.

Hebrews 1:3 tells us that Jesus is “the exact representation” of His Father. Although I have characteristics of my father, I am not his exact representation. To be his exact representation is to be all that he is in every way. Jesus is all that the Father is; the Father is all that Jesus is in every way. When Philip asked Jesus to show them the Father, Jesus responded in John 14:9-11, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?  Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves.”

John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. John 1:14 then says, and the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” Who is this “Word” that John speaks of? It is none other than Jesus Christ Himself, God who took upon flesh and dwelt among men. John called Jesus the “Word” in this text of scripture. The Greek word for this is Logos. It is the same word that we get the word logo. Like many other churches our church has a logo. When we made our church’s logo we wanted it to represent who we are as a church. We wanted it to be a visual description of who we are and what we stand for.

Jesus is the Word of God. He is God that has taken upon flesh to dwell among men to be a visual description of God so that we may see His glory. If we desire to know God, we must know Jesus. Although we see Jesus in all of the Bible, Old and New Testaments alike, the greatest place to discover the truths of who Jesus is in the gospels. We see His passion, we see His compassion, we see His likes, we see His dislikes, we discover His heart, and we learn His truths.

The man that led me to the saving grace of God gave me the greatest advice anyone could have ever given. He told me to start reading God’s Word and advised me to start in John. I had never read the Bible before. As a matter of fact, before I became a Christian I didn’t like to read anything. However, that night I was drawn to His Word, and I started reading through the book of John. Although I wasn’t much on reading, I read through the whole book of John that night without putting the Bible down. After finishing John, I then started Matthew; after Matthew I was intensely glued to God’s Word.

The day I accepted Jesus in my heart and started reading His Word I was a drug addicted young man full of hate and bitterness. I was at the lowest point of my life where I was continually contemplating ending it all. Yet, by the time I had concluded reading the gospels, this bitter and broken man was transformed to a blazing inferno set on fire for the Lord. Why? Because for the first time in my life, I discovered who Jesus truly was, and I fell madly in love with Him!

Although I had accepted Christ into my life just prior to reading His Word, my life was still broken. I had read through John, and I was now deep into Matthew. Just at the break of daylight after reading all night, I started reading how this glorious man-God’s own Son, God in the flesh-laid down His life for me on the cross. Although I had been told many times prior, it struck me for the very first time that Jesus laid down His life on the cross for me.

Out of compulsion I fell on my face before the Lord weeping. All I could say was “I’m sorry Lord, I’m sorry.” After a period of time (how much I do not know) a sense of overwhelming peace came over me with a love like I had never known before. God’s presence had consumed me. The God of whom I had searched for in written word came to life within me. His Word spoke to me that night because Jesus is the Word of God, alive and well still to this day, dwelling among men. If you seek Him, you will find Him!!! (Jeremiah 29:13).

I often think of where I might be today had I not taken the advice of the pastor who led me to the Lord and started reading God’s Word. I didn’t start reading the Gospels with the intention of seeking Jesus. However, after my encounter with God that day, He set me on a lifelong path of seeking Him. I came to know who He is, and that very day, I willingly chose to lay my life down in full pursuit of service and surrender unto Him. I came to know who He is and the fact that He was, and is, and always will be worthy of a life of surrender. Paul said in II Timothy 1:12, “I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him.”

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Posted by on January 29, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized


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Do You Really Love Jesus?

Do You Really Love Jesus?

In the second chapter of Revelation, Jesus praised the church of Ephesus for their perseverance in the midst of persecution, for staying true to the Word of God and opposing false teachers, and for standing strong in the name of Jesus. On the outside, the church of Ephesus looked like the perfect church. However, Jesus knew they had a deadly deficiency in their midst.

Jesus told the church of Ephesus that they are guilty of a great sin, “But I have this against you, that you have left your first love.” (Revelation 2:4). They began their ministry with passion and love toward Jesus. Yet, somehow through the years, their labor of love for the Lord slipped into the tedious traditions of the church. Jesus warned them and called them into repentance of their improper motivations of service. Just as so many churches today have replaced their passion for programs and their zeal for the name of Jesus for self notoriety, the church of Ephesus fell from being a church with a driving passion for Jesus to a church coasting along in autopilot.

Jesus told them that they needed to repent. Jesus warned the church of Emphasis that if they did not repent, there would be serious consequences to pay. However, if they chose to repent by turning back to their zeal and love of Him, God’s glorious hand of blessing would remain upon them. God always gives us a choice. Clearly, His heart is for us to choose loving devotion to Him that leads to blessing rather than His hand of wrath that is deserved because of our lack of repentance.

Stop and ask yourself right now, “Why do I serve God?” Is it out of a natural overflow of the love you have toward Jesus? If not, you stand in need of repentance! How can so many people who sit in churches Sunday after Sunday not serve the Lord? The answer is simple; it is due to the fact that they don’t love Jesus. Jesus said in John 14:15, “If you love me you will obey Me.” Put simply, the Christian that refuses to serve the Lord is a Christian that does not love the Lord. Jesus did not say “If you obey me you will demonstrate your love for Me”; that is legalism. His heart is that we serve Him out of the overflow of love we have for Him with gladness and gratitude.

As I look at the church today, I see signs disregard, disrespect, due to a distant or altogether lacking love of Jesus. This lack of love for Jesus is drowning our world in spiritual devastation. We have allowed Satan to come in and bring devastating pestilence upon the very world God created and loves. We see it in preachers with no passion, deacons who are not dedicated, congregations clutching for control, churches who won’t console the contrite, and the word of God wavered by the ways of man. Our churches have become lodges and social clubs with privileged membership unwelcoming to the stranger. Pastors have become hirelings to do the work that no one else is willing to do “After all, that’s what we pay the preacher for.” The pulpit has become a place where a polluted gospel is preached as to not hurt anyone’s feelings. Dare we say that we are sinners, and there is a place called hell reserved for those who refuse to repent?  If the preacher were to preach the truths of hell, would it really matter? Even if we know our neighbor is hell-bound, do we really care, or at least care enough, to actually do anything about it? We fuss and complain about the wickedness of the world; yet, we hold the very keys to lose the power of God into this world. We have not lost that power; we have surrendered that power to the fleshly desires of man seeking glory for self rather than for God. The signs of spiritual drought are crying out before us, and God has given us the solution. However, we must first repent and return to our first love, Jesus!

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Posted by on January 28, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized


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How Does One Repent?

How Does One Repent?

As already stated, true repentance is initiated by the recognition of the grace and mercy of God and isn’t only turning away from sin but turning to Jesus. But the question remains, how does one repent? Paul in Ephesians 4:22-24 explains what repentance is, and how we go about doing it. It is enacted by the decision to repent, empowered by the Holy Spirit, and made possible by Jesus.

Paul said they must first, “in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit.” (Ephesians 4:22). Once they have been convicted of their sin and they recognize the grace of God, they lay aside the former manner of life. Why do they lay aside this former manner of life? Because, they have discovered that it is useless and of no value. Too many people are holding onto their lives because they think it has value. What they don’t understand is that their life has been totally corrupted by sin, even a little sin, and is now of no value; it is worthless. Jesus said in Luke 9:24, “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.” In order to truly save our lives we must lay them aside.

At the moment the sinner has made the choice to lay down his old life and turn to Jesus God gives to him the gift of the Holy Spirit. Making us holy is one of the primary purposes of the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 4:23 says that after one lays aside the old manner of life, the old self, “that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind.” After one lays down his old life the Holy Spirit immediately begins the transformational process of renewing their minds.

Romans 12:2 says, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” The word conformed literally means to be pressed into a mold. Through pressure, intimidation, and lies the world tries to press you into its mold. The word here for transformed is the same word we get metamorphosis from. It would be an accurate description of a caterpillar transforming into a butterfly. This is the very word God chose to use for the one who was once a sinner but has been transformed into a saint. The things that the sinner once thought was right he now realizes is wrong. The things the sinner once wanted to do, he no longer wants’ to do because he has been transformed from a sinful mindset to a mind set on righteousness through the power of the Holy Spirit. One cannot will themselves into righteous thinking, work themselves up, or hope hard enough. Nor, will hanging out with other righteous people rub off on them. It is only the transformative power of the Holy Spirit that makes this possible; thus the necessity to lay down ones old life and pick up the new one.

Paul then goes on to tell us in the next verse, “and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” What do we put on? We put on Jesus. Romans 13:14 says, “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.” The literal meaning of this is to cloth yourself in Christ. We do this by faith.

So then, how does one repent? One repents by laying aside the old life and picking up Christ; literally clothing oneself in Him. The sinner does this once for salvation. However, the Christian should do this daily. They are not being resaved daily, they are simply making the choice to continue walking in the new life that has been made accessible through the blood of Jesus and daily empowered by the work of the Holy Spirit.

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Posted by on January 27, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized


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Born Again

Born Again

In the third chapter of the book of John we see a Pharisee by the name of Nicodemus coming to Jesus by night seeking answers as to who He was. Nicodemus recognized Jesus was from God but wanted to know more. Jesus then startled Nicodemus with a statement he had difficulty understanding. Jesus said in John 3:3 to Nicodemus, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus not understanding Jesus statement asked in the next verse, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” Jesus then answered in verses five and six, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”

At first Jesus said unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God. Then Jesus said, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God. I believe Jesus was basically making the same statement, but rewording it a little for Nicodemus to better understand.

If we are alive today we were delivered from the water from the flesh as flesh. In other words we were conceived and formed into flesh in our mother’s womb and thus we were born. If we are born again we have been born of the Spirit of God. If we are not born of the Spirit of God we cannot see nor enter the kingdom of God.

The question that is now before us is, “How do we become born again?” The simple answer is, we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior by believing in who He is and the works He has done on the cross to purchase redemption. By grace we are saved by faith and not by works. (Ephesians 2:9-10).

Paul said in Romans 5:20, “The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.” In other words, regardless of how much sin we have had in our lives, God has more grace. Therefore, all our sins, regardless of how much, will be washed away if we place our faith in Jesus.

Paul then asks in Romans 6:1, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase?” Since God has more grace than we have sin should we just keep on sinning so God’s grace can increase? If we ever see yelling in writing we see it in Romans 6:2 when Paul said, “May it never be!” He then goes on to explain through the remainder of this chapter that those who are in Christ are dead to sin. They have died and have been buried with Christ.

For one to be born again he must first die; not physically but spiritually. One must die to his flesh, his hopes, his dreams, his goals, his ways, his ideas, his thoughts, and basically everything that has made him, him. Jesus said in Matthew 16:24, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.” Jesus said that the requirement of following Him was denying yourself and taking up your cross. Remember that the cross is an instrument of death.

Paul said in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.” Paul’s hopes, dreams, goals, ways, ideas, thoughts, and everything that made Paul, Paul was no longer about him, for he denied himself, it was about Jesus. He was born again. He died to Paul and came alive to Jesus. How did he do this? He explained how in the second part of Galatians 2:20 where he wrote, “the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”

Far too many people have a fire insurance type of faith. They don’t want to go to hell but they don’t want to live for Jesus either. They are unwilling to turn from their sinful, fleshly, self-centered, and self-serving ways to truly live for Jesus. Remember, Jesus said, unless you are born again you cannot see, nor enter, the kingdom of Heaven.

To be born again we must die to the flesh and come alive to Jesus. Paul saw the love that Jesus had for him and the actions of the cross that demonstrated His love. With this in mind Paul said in Colossians 3:8, “I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ.” Paul realized that he, Paul, was not worthy to live for, but Christ was more than worthy.

Have you been born again? Jesus died for you to give you life. He gave up all so you could have all; all that matters anyway. Have you died to you and come alive to Jesus, or do you simply have a fire insurance policy? Romans 8:12-13 says, “So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh— for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”

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Posted by on January 26, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized


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A New Nature

A New Nature

As clearly as the bible teaches that the unregenerate person has a nature of wrath and is led by, lied to, and blinded by Satan, the bible teaches that once one repents and receives Christ he is a new creature in Christ; he has died to the old nature and come alive to Christ and is given a new nature. II Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”

Once the sinner has repented and given his life over to Christ he is transformed from a nature of wrath to a nature of God. His nature is transformed because his position has been changed from being a man of the world to a man of God. Formerly, according to Ephesians 2:2, he walked, “according to the course of this world.” But now that his position has been changed, he is seated with Jesus in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 2:6).

Due to his change of position a transformation has taken place in his spirit where he has received the Spirit of God and his spirit has been lifted up into heaven residing with Christ. For this reason he is in Christ and Christ is in him. I John 4:13 says, “By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.” Since his position has changed he is never alone. The Holy Spirit is now at work in his life teaching him, leading him, and transforming him from glory to glory.

Ephesians 2:2 also tells us that he formerly walked in accordance to the, “prince of the power of the air.” Now he is in the hands of God as “His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” He is no longer being influenced by Satan. He is now being led by God. Just as his position has changed, his allegiance has changed. Jesus is now his Lord. His allegiance is now to walk in the good works of God for the glory of God.  (Ephesians 2:10).

Just as he once was by nature a child of wrath, he is now a child of God. Since his nature has changed he is no longer a sinner. Romans 6:6-7 says,  knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin.” This does not at all mean that the Christian cannot sin. As we see clearly in Romans 7 there is a constant battle between the flesh and the Spirit. What this means is that he is now freed from the hold and bondage sin had on his life. Sin no longer has power over him. God has power over him. He is now free. Therefore, he is to consider himself dead to sin and alive to Christ. (Romans 6:11).

Since he no longer has a nature of sin he has been declared as righteous. II Corinthians 5:21 says, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” This righteousness is not of his own accord but from his new position, his new allegiance, and his new nature that comes through his faith connection with Christ. Jesus made this possible on the cross through the shedding of His blood. He allows God to apply this righteousness to his life by his faith in Christ.

A child with a nature of wrath will live in that nature of wrath living in the lusts of his flesh and mind, therefore, living in sin. His nature has changed. Therefore, for him to live in sin is unnatural. The one who is a child of wrath will walk in accordance to the prince of the power of the air. His allegiance has changed. He now walks in accordance to God as Lord of his life. Anything else would be unnatural. His focus is no longer on the course of this world, for, he is now setting his mind on the things above. For him to be concerned with the affairs of the world would be unnatural.

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Posted by on January 25, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized


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Pay Close Attention to Yourself

Pay Close Attention to Yourself

“Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.” I Timothy 4:16

If we are going to be effective tools for the Lord we must take heed to the words of Paul and pay close attention to ourselves. With this in mind we should continually examine ourselves. We examine ourselves through the Word of God and through prayer. Psalm 139:23-24 says, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.” This should be a continual prayer from our heart.

Psalm 66:18 says, “If I regard wickedness in my heart, The Lord will not hear.” If God will not hear us, he certainly will not use us. Therefore, as we examine our heart we must ask God to reveal any wickedness we may have hidden in our heart. One may say, “I have no need for this, far my heart is pure.” That is pride, which is in every way, wickedness. Remember, “Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before stumbling.” (Proverbs 16:18). The Pharisees were prideful in what they perceived to be their righteousness but, Jesus called them sons of hell.

Iniquity and wickedness is sneaky, hiding in the darkest corners of our soul, unwilling to show itself for what it is so it can control your will and manipulate you into thinking you are right with God. Some iniquity could have been lingering in the darkness for years while we are clueless of its power over us. Other forms of wickedness could have recently crept in trying to take root. For this reason we must pay close attention to ourselves and seek God for revelation of any form of wickedness hidden deep within.

Wickedness can come in many forms. It is found in the heart that is unloving and selfish. It is found in the soul that is self-centered and self seeking. It is found in the heart of the prideful trusting in their own power rather than God’s. It is found in the heart of the prejudice thinking they are better than the other. It is found in the vengeful, spiteful, resentful, and unforgiving spirit. It is found in the one who is seeking his own kingdom with worldly ambitions rather than the advancements of God’s. It comes in many forms and in many ways but the worst form of wickedness is the stubborn soul that refuses to repent and submit to God.

As we pay close attention to ourselves we are sure to find flaws in our character that do not line up with God’s. We first trust in His grace and receive forgiveness, then we seek His transforming and renewing power trusting that He will restore us into right relationship. We realize that we never reach the pinnacle of maturity as a Christian. We are perpetually learning and growing.

If Jesus is not central and exalted in our lives, we open the door for wickedness to enter in, and close the door for the power of God to work through us. Therefore, when we pay close attention to ourselves, the main question should always be, “Is Jesus central and exalted in my life?”

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Posted by on January 24, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized


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Our Authority

Our Authority

Paul wrote in I Corinthians 4:6, “Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively applied to myself and Apollos for your sakes, so that in us you may learn not to exceed what is written, so that no one of you will become arrogant in behalf of one against the other.” In this verse he is telling the church of Corinth that he and Apollos have made a standard for themselves not to exceed what is written. He is now telling the church of Corinth to follow their example. What was written? The scriptures. Clearly the Word of God is our authority that we are not to exceed or go beyond.

Paul also wrote in II Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” When one looks at this text in its original language they will see that the literal meaning of “inspired by God” means “God breathed.” God used many men to write down His word but all Scripture comes directly from the breath of God. It is God’s word not mans. II Peter 1:20-21 says, “But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” For anyone to go beyond what is written is arrogant, boastful, and blasphemous. God has given to us His word “So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.” (I Peter 1:19).

Paul said that Scripture is profitable. He then listed several things it was profitable for. Since it is profitable we will gain and increase through the study of the Word of God which is God breathed. The end result we gain from Scripture is “that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” Through God’s word we have everything we will ever need to be thoroughly equipped for service unto Him.

Paul first mentions that Scripture is profitable for teaching. When we are taught, the teaching must be centered in Scripture. When we teach, our teaching must be centered in Scripture. He then says that scripture is profitable for reproof. To reproof someone is to call them out for an error or a wrong. When calling one out for being wrong or for an error in their lives or teaching we must use Scripture. Our opinions are always susceptible to being wrong. However, Scripture is always right. Paul then said Scripture is profitable for correction. Correction is restoration to an upright position. We don’t want to be reproved and not know how to correct the error of our way. Scripture brings us back into the right path, out of the error. It corrects us.

Paul then tells us that Scripture is profitable for training in righteousness. Romans 3:10 tells us that, “there is no one righteous, not even one.” Most everyone will admit that they are a sinner. However, not everyone knows the guilt of their unrighteousness. Scripture makes it clear. Romans 3:22 then tells us that we receive righteousness by placing our faith in Christ and Romans 3:26 tells us that faith in Christ justifies us-makes us righty with God. Yet, how will we or anyone else know these truths apart from the authority of God’s word? We won’t. And, apart from Scripture, how will we grow in righteousness? We won’t.

Whether it is for our personal growth, or teaching others, we trust in the authority of God’s breathed word. Paul said not to go beyond what it written. If we were to go beyond what is written it will profit us nothing and more than likely will cause great harm. However, when we trust in the authority of the written word that was breathed from God with our lives and our ministry we will be adequately equipped for every good work. In other words, we will be lacking in nothing.

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Posted by on January 23, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized


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Satan is a Liar

Satan is a Liar

As an active witness for the Lord we must remember two great truths, first God’s word is always true, second Satan is always a liar. From the beginning of time Satan the liar has tried to disprove God’s word. God placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden giving them the freedom to eat of every tree in the garden with one exception. God said to Adam in Genesis 2:17, “but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” Eve knew the command and the warning of God; however, Satan came with his lies to convince her that God was holding out on her. Satan the liar tri

ed to convince Eve that God was the liar. He said to her in Genesis 3:4, “You surly will not die.” He directly contradicted God. We know the rest of the story; therefore, we know who tells the truth and who the liar is. Jesus Himself said of Satan in John 8:44, “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

Satan’s tactics have not changed. He will first try to convince people through his lies that God’s word is not true. If he cannot succeed in this tactic he will then try to twist and warp God’s word removing the truths of God with lies that Paul calls, “doctrines of demons.” (I Timothy 4:1). God’s word time and again warns us of those who proclaim these lies of Satan. The bible calls them false prophets.

When dealing with these false prophets we must remember our truths, God’s word is always true and Satan is always a liar. Ephesians 6:12 reminds us that, “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Satan is the author of the lie; the false prophets are simply believers of and proclaimers of the lie. Does this make them innocent? Of course not. This simply reminds us of the essence of our battle. It is a spiritual battle with spiritual implications rather than a physical battle. Our struggle is against Satan and his demons, not his false prophets. God’s heart is to win over those who have believed the lie. Not to destroy them. If they choose not to repent from the lie, the lie will destroy them.

Jesus said in Matthew 7:15, “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” In other words, just because they look and act Christian doesn’t necessarily mean that they are. We need to listen to what they are proclaiming and ask ourselves, “Does it line up with the consistency of scripture?” In John’s warning of false prophets he tells us, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” (I John 4:1). How do we try or test these false prophets to see if they are wolves in sheep’s clothing? With the Word of God! Does their message line up with God’s word or does it directly contradict it?

Again, remember our truths, God’s word is always true, and Satan is always a liar. In the fact that God’s word is always true, God’s word never contradicts itself. One extreme of the lies of Satan is that one must do good works and deeds in order to be saved. Satan will lie to them telling them that they have to earn their salvation by the works that they do. This clearly is a contradiction of Satan. Scripture after scripture tells us that we are saved by faith and not of works.(John 3:16, Romans 3:22, 3:24, 3:26, 3:28-30, 4:3, 4:5, 4:11, 4:16, 5:1, 5:9, 9:30, 9:33, 10:4, 10:9-10, 11:6, Galatians 2:16, 2:21, 3:5-6, 3:8, 3:14, 3:22, 3:24, Ephesians 1:13, 2:8, Philippians 3:9, I Timothy 1:16). Titus 3:5 tells us that we are not even saved by acts of righteousness. The clear consistent teaching of God’s word is that we are saved by faith. Faith plus anything equals nothing.

The other extreme in Satan’s deception is that God is okay with sin when the consistency of God’s word says He clearly is not. Satan will lie and tell people that they can live in sin and be in right relationship with God. However, I John 1:6 says, “If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.” Satan will even go so far as to try and redefine what sin is and is not. However, God’s word is clear as to what sin is and is not.

Paul said in II Timothy 4:3, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.” I have no doubt that this time has come and that this is the day that we are living in. As faithful stewards of God’s word we must stand firm on the truths of God’s word. We are the light bearers of the truth. If we stop bearing that truth and cower down to the masses the world will live hopelessly in the dark. If we have believed something that we find directly contradicts God’s word we must repent and line ourselves up with God’s truths.

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Posted by on January 22, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized


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